Experts forecast below average hurricane season

First hurricane prediction of the season forecasts lower than average storm activity.

Experts forecast below average hurricane season
Last year, Florence and Michael combined to kill more than 100 Americans and cost nearly $50 billion in damage. (Source: CNN, NASA)

(CNN) -Some good news for coastal areas.

Researchers at Colorado State University are forecasting a slightly below normal Atlantic hurricane season.

They are anticipating five hurricanes this year -with two that are considered major - meaning Category 3 or higher.

That’s about 75 percent of normal activity and it’s because a developing El Nino and cooler Atlantic waters that should help inhibit powerful storms.

Contrast that to last year when the U.S. saw storm activity that was 20 percent above average with eight hurricanes.

Two of those developed into major storms that struck populated areas.

Hurricane Michael ravaged Florida’s panhandle with 155 mile per hour winds - and hurricane Florence flooded much of the Carolinas with more than 30 inches of rain.

Each storm caused an estimated $25 billion in damages, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Keep in mind the new forecast does not predict where the storms might form or if they will make landfall.

Colorado State will update the forecast in June, July and August to increase accuracy.

Hurricane season officially starts June 1 and lasts until Nov. 30.

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